By Iola Goulton
It’s a new year, and for many of us that means New Year’s Resolutions and planning for the upcoming year.I recently listened to an episode of the Novel Marketing Podcast, where host Thomas Umstattd Jr and guest James L Rubart were talking about planning in a military context. If an operation is executed as planned, why have a plan in the first place?
Because having a plan is evidence that you had an objective and worked towards that objective, whether you succeeded or not.
In a military context, having a plan shows you thought about your campaign objective, of how many troops would be required, how you would get those troops to where they needed to be, how you would feed and house them, and what they would need to do when they got there.
The military execute their plan, then review that execution against plan.
- What went as planned?
- What didn’t?
- Why or why not?
- How can they improve the plan to improve execution?
That’s normal for New Year’s resolutions, right?Why do we continue to make New Year’s resolutions when we don’t truly believe we’re going to achieve those goals? Why do we set ourselves up to fail?
Perhaps the answer comes back to the military example. The point of the plan isn’t to achieve the plan. The point of the plan was to show not just that we had a mission or a goal, but that we also had a plan, a considered step-by-step approach to follow that would move us closer to achieving that goal.
Perhaps the point of the plan isn’t whether or not we meet our goals, but the process of thoughtfully and prayerfully considering what we believe God is calling us towards and how we’re going to achieve that.
- What steps is God asking us to take this year?
- What do we want to achieve this year?
- How can we translate the goal or achievement into a practical and doable plan?
- What might we have to do differently to work the plan?
- A week-to-view for organising my day-to-day work and home life.
- A month-to-view page where I plan my blogging schedule.
- A year-at a glance where I (in theory) record big picture things like daily word count goals.
My 2021 planner is a little different.As well as the usual three views, it has eight pages for planning goals for the year, and another twelve pages for monthly goals. Each annual goal has space to plan specific tasks that will move me closer to achieving the goal. These tasks can then be copied to the monthly and weekly planning ages to help get things done.
For example, I can show you my goal statement from three or four years ago where I met exactly zero of my goals. I think the reason was there were goals with no plan, no list of step-by-step tasks that would result in me achieving an overall goal.
Let’s take weight loss as an example.There is no way anyone can lose ten kilos in a week short of having a limb amputated. Instead, we lose weight a bit over time—losing a quarter of a kilo a week will get us to that ten-kilo goal with a couple of months to spare. But even that quarter of a kilo isn’t going to happen unless we plan how we’re going to lose that weight.
- Are we going to eat less/better, exercise more, or both?
- How are we going to change our eating and shopping habits to eat less or eat better?
- How are we going to change our daily or weekly schedule to exercise more?